Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Browned Butter Frosting


All the cozy flavors of fall in one scrumptious cinnamon roll. Delicate crumb, crunchy pecans (so good!) And the browned butter cream cheese frosting? Straight up candy. So addictive and such a fun combo for fall! Not into sourdough? No problem! I have an adaptation for that below! Not into Pecans? Skip them! 

This recipe makes 16 rolls

These are such a yummy treat!

Sourdough + Pumpkin + Fall Flavors

Sweet Browned Butter Cinnamon Filling

Chopped Crunchy Pecans

Browned Butter + Cream Cheese Frosting  (straight from heaven)

More Crunchy Pecans

I’m telling you. You need these in your life! Perfect fall treat! 

what if I’m not on the sourdough train?

You don’t need to be  proficient in sourdough to make these rolls. Click here for a non-Sourdough adaptation!  (for some reason this link isn’t consistently working on mobile devices, so if it’s not working for you, just search “pumpkin cinnamon rolls” into the search bar above.)

Why sourdough?

Sourdough can be intimidating at first, but trust me, it is so rewarding! You even might be surprised by how quickly you get the hang of it and then never want to stop!

Sourdough is also known as “Natural Yeast”. Natural Yeast/Sourdough is how all leavened breads were made, from the time bread was invented until active dry yeast started to be commercialized in the early 1900’s. Since quick dry yeast took the world by storm, sourdough became somewhat of a lost art. But I’m determined to bring it back! 

Breads made with sourdough not only have a richer, deeper flavor (that iconic, subtle sourdough tang!) but they also have a host of digestion benefits that you could never get from quick yeast breads. In fact, for every reason that quick-yeast breads are considered “unhealthy”, the opposite can be said about breads made with sourdough! 

*Sourdough lowers the glycemic for the current meal and the next several meals, stabilizing blood sugar. 

*Because of the long fermentation process that sourdough requires, it makes the nutrition from the grain accessible since it ferments/pre-digests the grain and neutralizes phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient, and when neutralized by sourdough, the nutrition (minerals, and B vitamins) is unlocked and accessible to the body. 

*Sourdough is so much easier to digest than most commercial breads made with quick yeast. Many people with gluten sensitivity can handle sourdough with no problem. 

*Sourdough is full of probiotics, which, after cooked, turns into prebiotic fuel for our healthy gut bacteria. 

These are just some of reasons I love adding sourdough to any baked good I can! Plus, it tastes amazing!

Keep in mind, the sourdough process takes MUCH longer. Instead of rise times that last one hour each, the rise times could take 4-8 hours each. 

why pecans?

It turns out that the pecans are our VERY FAVORITE part of these delicious treat!

If you don’t like nuts, just skip them entirely!

Note: the pecans on the frosting can get soggy over time. Only add the chopped pecans immediately before serving. 


Active Sourdough Starter

Your sourdough starter needs to be fed, active, bubbly and happy when you use in this recipe. 

If you have any questions about sourdough, how to activate it, how to care for it, how to bring it back to life, etc. etc. click here to read my post all about sourdough starter!

pureed pumpkin

This recipe calls for a 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin. Just be sure not to use canned pumpkin pie filling!


Warm water. The temperature matters! If it is too cold slightly slow the rising time,  and if it is too hot it could aggravate or even kill the yeast. The warmth of the water will help the dough rise faster. Since you will only be using 1/2 cup of water, it’s not the end of the world but take note for other bakes. 

pure maple syrup

I like to use pure maple syrup because of the dark color it adds to the dough and because of the delightful maple flavor. 

Just make sure that you aren’t using maple-flavored pancake syrup. That will not work for this recipe. Check the ingredient list and it should *only* contain pure maple syrup.

If you don’t have maple syrup, some other good alternative options are Honey, Sugar, or Coconut sugar. 

If you want less sweetness, feel free to reduce the amount of Pure Maple Syrup/honey/sugar called for. You can reduce it to 1 Tablespoon, or even eliminate it entirely. It turns out just fine with just a less sweet taste. (plenty of sweetness in the filling and frosting!) If you eliminate or reduce the amount of pure maple syrup, all the other ingredients will remain the same.

Not a dealbreaker, but try and use room temperature ingredients, so if your maple syrup was in the fridge, let it come to room temp for a bit before adding it to the dough. 


Many of the ingredients in this recipe are forgiving. If you forget to add the sugar, oil, or egg, it still turns out pretty much okay. But if you forget the salt, it’s NO GOOD! Sadly, you may as well throw it away or feed it to chickens if you forget the salt. It won’t taste good.

I am very picky about salt. My favorite salt, and the only salt I use is Redmond Real Salt*. I love it because it is pure, unprocessed, full of naturally-occurring trace minerals, has no fillers, no anti-caking agents, no additives or unhealthy pollutants added to it. Sadly most commercial table salt has a lot of not great things added to it, is processed, and has no trace minerals. Redmond real salt has been mined from an ancient sea bed in central Utah- making it true, mineral rich sea salt! I get my salt here.*

You can get 15% off with my affiliate discount code, “AMBERSKITCHEN”.

To make it more cost effective, I buy in bulk and order a 25 pound bag* of salt every few years. I store it in a bucket or in mason jars and it lasts me a few years.

*This is an affiliate link and I may receive a commission on your purchase. Thank you for shopping through this link. 


The egg makes the texture of the rolls soft and prevents them from getting crumbly. *If* you cannot use egg due to allergies or what not, you can just skip the egg alltogether. Really. It will be fine without it. 

Coconut Oil

I strongly prefer to use melted coconut oil in most of my bread recipes because coconut oil is magic for bread and rolls! It makes the bread notably softer than bread made with other oils. It does not make the bread taste at all like coconut.

However, if you cannot do coconut oil, my next recommendation would be to substitute it straight across for avocado oil. My 3rd choice would be melted butter and my 4th choice would be olive oil. Feel free to use whatever you like best.


This recipe can be made from many flour options, such as bread flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or Kamut flour.



BREAD FLOUR: This option contains more gluten in it than All-purpose flour, so the finished product results in a tall buoyant rise, and bread that is soft with a beautiful stretch. I most often make this recipe with organic bread flour that I get from a local mill, Lehi Mills* (Affiliate Coupon code “AMBERSKITCHEN” FOR 10% off). I prefer their products because they source their wheat from farmers who do not use glyphosate on their wheat crop.

ALL PURPOSE FLOUR: This can be used as a straight across substitute for bread flour.

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: This can be used in place of bread flour, however generally you will need slightly less flour because of the weight and absorbency of whole wheat flour. So instead of using about 5 cups of flour, you may only need 4.25 cups. (Just an example, but be sure to check by texture when you are adding flour to see if you have the correct amount). Make note that any time you use whole wheat in combination with sourdough, the dough will taste much more sour, and it will not rise as high. Just be aware. A good compromise in my opinion is to do half whole wheat and half bread flour. 

KAMUT: Kamut is an ancient type of wheat that hasn’t been genetically altered as much as many of the common types of wheat we use today. It is very tasty and has a slight nutty flavor. For the most part, it can be substituted for all-purpose flour, but not straight across. It is more absorbent than all-purpose flour, so if you use Kamut, reduce the total amount of flour by about 10%-15%. In my experience, I notice that Kamut doesn’t always rise quite as high and it can tend to be a tad more crumbly. The top of the loaves also have a slightly dimpled appearance when I use Kamut. I get white wheat Kamut flour from here.

*This is an affiliate link and I may receive a commission on your purchase. Thank you for shopping through this link. 


As mentioned above, you can completely skip the pecans if nuts aren’t your thing. But if they are, then WOWZA! Honestly my favorite part of this recipe is the nuts in the filling and on the top. SO good and crunchy. Feel free to adapt to a different kind of nuts if you have a different favorite. Just make sure that they aren’t seasoned or that will mess with the flavor of the rolls. 


Q: Can I freeze the dough?
A: I do not recommend freezing the pre-baked sourdough of any kind. In my experience, it has mostly negative, inconsistent results. But, you can freeze the completed rolls! Just remember to set the pecans aside for the topping as they tend to get soggy over time. 

Q: Can I refrigerate the dough overnight?
A: YES! You can refrigerate at one of two points. 1- right after the dough has been made but before the first bulk rise, or 2- right after the dough rolls have been formed. (not both)

If refrigerating right after the dough has been made, it can be refrigerated for any length of time between 1 hour and 48 hours. If the dough spends at least 6 hours in the fridge, you can skip the first bulk rise, and go straight to forming the cold dough into rolls when pulled out of the fridge. 

If refrigerating the dough after the rolls have been formed on the baking sheet, then cover them with plastic wrap or with a lid, and refrigerate for 4-48 hours. You can pull them out of the fridge, let them come to room temp, then rise until doubled in size, then bake them. 

Q: What size baking pans do you recommend?
A: You will need one half sheet jelly roll pan that measures 18 x 13 inches. 

Q: Can this recipe be halved?
A: You can absolutely half this recipe! If halving, I would recommend baking in a 9×13 inch pan instead of a 18×13 inch jelly roll pan. Also, if halving, you can just skip the egg entirely. Conversely, this recipe could also be doubled. 

Q: Can I make these without pumpkin?
A: Yes! You can make cinnamon rolls without pumpkin! Click here to see my sourdough cinnamon roll recipe. That recipe does not include my browned butter cream cheese buttercream frosting or the pecans, so you would have to adapt those on your own. There is even an orange roll adaptation to the side as well. If you want non sourdough, non pumpkin rolls, click here to see my *viral* recipe for quick and heavenly Cinnamon Rolls. 

Q: Is it absolutely necessary to spray the baking pans with non-stick spray?
A: I actually prefer lining my baking sheets with parchment paper! Click here to see the parchment paper that I use. It is unbleached and pre-cut for easy use. I use them every single time I bake. You can use non stick spray though! 

Q: Do these need to be refrigerated?
A: Since they have cream cheese frosting on them, it’s probably wise to refrigerate anything not eaten within a few hours of the oven. (Although… to be totally honest we rarely refrigerate any leftover frosted rolls at my house). Remember though: those pecans on top can get soggy so only add those right before serving!

how do you make browned butter?

Browning butter is a process which takes the flavor of the butter up, about 20 notches! It is so aromatic and delicious! I’m getting kindof obsessed with browned butter and how amazingly it improves the flavor of certain baked goods!

  • In the process of browning the butter, all of the water will be evaporated from the butter. So if you start with 3/4 cup, you may only end up with about 1/2.
  • To brown the butter  take a small saucepan and add the butter.
  • Cook the butter over medium high heat until butter melts, then bubbles, then foams, then forms brown flecks under the foam/bubbles.
  • Once that liquid starts to turn brown, remove from heat before you BURN the butter. (careful, it can happen fast!) 

sample schedule

Figuring out the timing of anything sourdough can be tricky. This is just a sample schedule to give you an idea but obviously, fit this into your schedule in whatever way is best for you! 

Thursday 9:00 PM: In a clear glass quart mason jar, Combine 2 Tablespoons of flat and runny discard starter with one heaping cup of flour and one scant cup of water. Mix together. Mark the height of the barely fed starter with a sharpie or with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature overnight or for about 10 hours.

Friday 7:00 AM: *If the starter is active, bubbly, and doubled in size, then proceed to the next step. if it has not reached that point, then do not continue.* Using 1 cup of the active starter, (save the rest as your “reserve” starter) make the dough. then cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Friday at 1:00 PM: *only proceed if the dough has doubled in size* Roll out the dough and assemble into rolls. Place on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled. 

Friday at 3:30 PM: *only proceed if the dough rolls have doubled in size* Bake the rolls. Frost when they come out of the oven. Enjoy! 

As mentioned earlier, in the FAQ box, you can absolutely refrigerate the dough or formed rolls as needed to fit this recipe into your timeline. 

Remember that sourdough doesn’t take any more hands on time than any other recipe. Same amount of hands on time, more rising time! 

If you have any sourdough questions, please reference this blog post for more information! (click here)  

Watch Me make it, here!

Note: in the video below, I used 8 tablespoons browned butter in the filling instead of 5 tablespoons of (un-browned) softened butter. (Just if you are wondering why the filling looks different)

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Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Browned Butter Frosting

“Out of this world delicious with the nuts and the amazing frosting!”
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Keyword: cinnamon rolls, pumpkin, sourdough
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Rise Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 41 minutes
Servings: 16 Rolls


Dough Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water baby bottle temperature
  • 1 cup active bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2.5 Tablespoons coconut oil melted
  • 1, 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour or bread flour give or take 1/2 cup
  • chopped pecans 3/4 cup for filling (noted below) and 3/4 cup for toppin

Filling Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of butter that will be turned into brown butter
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk if needed to thin frosting


  • Combine water, activated sourdough starter, pureed pumpkin, pure maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, coconut oil, and the egg. Mix gently.
  • Add flour, cup by cup mixing in between each addition. You have enough flour when 1- the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2- the dough becomes tacky but not overly sticky in texture. Use the touch test (below) to determine if the dough has the right amount of flour. If it doesn’t have enough, add a little flour and knead. If it has too much flour, add a teaspoon of oil and knead. Do not add too much flour!

    Touch test: after kneading the dough, touch it with 3 fingers. If a lot of dough sticks to your fingers, it needs more flour. If hardly any sticks to your fingers it’s just right. If it is dry and crumbly with pockets of visible flour, it has too much flour. Kneading the dough for a few extra minutes can help hydrate any excess flour. or for dough that has accidentally become extremely dry, adding even a teaspoon of oil, then kneading will help.
  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or with a bowl lid or with plastic wrap. Let rise until it has doubled in size (about 4-6 hours, depending on the ambient temp in your home and the strength of your starter).
  • Meanwhile, make your browned butter by combining all of the butter (both the amount for the filling and the frosting)
  • Punch down dough and dump onto a clean, floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. (make sure there is a little flour under the dough so it doesn’t stick too much!) Spread 5 tablespoons of the butter evenly onto the dough. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar, then cinnamon, then pumpkin pie filling, then the chopped pecans.
  • Roll into a tight, long snake. Using a sharp knife or cinnamon flavored dental floss, cut the snake into 16 equal portions (discarding the very ends). Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap, a lid, or a clean dish towel.
  • Prepare the browned butter for the frosting and set aside to let cool. (instructions above)
  • Allow the rolls to rise again until doubled in size.
  • When doubled, preheat oven to 350° F
  • Bake for about 18 minutes, give or take a couple minutes.
  • While it’s in the oven, prepare your frosting by combining the wet ingredients and whipping with a hand held mixer. Then combine the powdered sugar and whip again for a couple of minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add a little milk if needed to thin the frosting slightly.
  • Remove rolls from oven. Spread the frosting over the top of the rolls.
  • If you will be serving the rolls immediately, sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top of the rolls.
  • Serve and enjoy!

One Response

  1. 5 stars
    Sooooo yummy. Didn’t have almond extract so used maple extract and it was amazingly delish!! 6/6 family members loved them.

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Ambers Kitchen Sourdough Bread

Hi! I'm Amber.

I’m obsessed with all things food and a mom to five. Baking bread and using my instant pot is my obsession and I love to bring all I have learned to YOU.


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